Posted by David Button on Mar 26, 2021
Almost three years ago, I stupidly said I would be President. President Ricardo (at the time) and PE Lea wanted to announce a President-Elect Nominee to the Club at our Annual General meeting. They grabbed me in passing from the bar and my friends and I said, "Yeah Right". There was no conversation, just, "We think you would be a great President". Hence my answer.
The next minute, I was being announced as that President-Elect Nominee thingy! Whoa, what happened there!!! I don't really think I agreed, especially when my wife Judy told me not to come home as a future President, before I left for the meeting!
I am a man of my word, so from the moment of the announcement (OK, I was in denial for a bit), I thought I better get on with looking like I knew what I was doing. I already had mentors at hand around District 9820, including PDG Janne Speirs, PDG Charlie Speirs, PP Peter Rawlings, PDG Tim Moore, PDG Adrian Froggatt and PP Jim Wilson. I gradually added another 10 from in and around other Districts, who I was working with through Rotary Donations in Kind and our last Multi-District Conference. Many of these people may be considered movers and shakers in Rotary but more importantly, they were people who are genuinely interested in Rotary making a real impact in the world. I have to say that being a humble Rotary Conference Registration person gives a lot of insight into the bigger Rotary world!
So OK, Rotary in Victoria, Australia, is pretty impressive! I am learning plenty and, yes I might have the resources I need to fudge through a Rotary year as the Pres. Then, last year the fires came and my half brother PDG Bob Button from District 7475 New Jersey USA came to our rescue with an offer to help. His Club and his District donated $20,000 AUD to our District's Fire appeals, with the bulk of the donations going towards our BlazeAid trailers and the rest going to the East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid. 
I have never met my half brother Bob. I have spoken to him briefly (and about 50 other senior Rotarians on a Zoom call with PRIP Barry Rassin), and again just the other day for my birthday on Zoom, as well as my other half brother and a half-sister. None the less, I thought I should ask PDG Bob for a mentor while I was at it. He suggested Shelby Rhodes. She is a member of the Arch Klumph Society (look it up). She and her partner know Rotary at the major donor level. They also entered Rotary by joining a club that was dying, (well I did say my club wasn't travelling that well so maybe that is why I got the suggestion). They changed the club's name, increased its territorial range, and changed their meeting schedule...with the result that a dying club is now growing. Shelby will be the District Governor of District 7475 in 21-22. I needed people who have experienced change, if change is what was needed for my Club.
The final piece in my puzzle was lunch with RIPEN Jennifer Jones in Berwick and PP Mark Anderson from RI Parramatta (thanks to PDG Adrian Froggatt). Jennifer was lovely and down to earth and will be a terrific Rotary International President in 2022-23. She even came to my nursery and looked at what I was doing. Mark on the other hand used to be a flower importer, so we hit it off straight away. He gave me his club's Presidents Plan and other founding documents and told me how I should get my Club going.
OK cool, a walk in the park! Top-quality advice, a written plan, fix up the policies, get the club believing in the power of what Rotary can do again. Sounds too easy, there must be a catch! The catch is that where most of my good information was coming from, there was a high level of Rotary knowledge. We have a ways to go on that score. Please remember and book in for District Assembly 22nd May 2021 AND the District Conference 1st-2nd MAY 2021 (especially the physical meeting at Nossal and the Dinner).
Let's face it, if we want our Club to be successful and relevant in our community, we all should be preparing to step into leadership positions to drive our Club to where it needs to be. Many hands make light work too, as they say. My wife Judy often brings it up that I am a sucker for punishment, but frankly I am very excited to see how much our Club is achieving and how so many members are pushing our Club into areas we have never explored before. We have people who can be leaders in our Club. They just have to see Rotary as an adventure and not a chore.
My final point is traction in Rotary through embracing change. Old Trevor, pictured above, may look like a museum piece but people are still paying money to see him. Some will equate the Rotary Club of Berwick to old Trev, but they'd be wrong. Our Club might look the same on the outside, but we are on a modern-day fuel on the inside! Old Trevor has converted from coal to green energy hydrogen (if Dr Shuey can find some time to explain all that to us), which means everyone needs to get skilled up! We all need to be prepared to meet new challenges ahead and Steam Roll our way forward. 
P.S. I have it on good authority that Old Timers are actually a valuable resource these days, so don't underestimate our potential! Peace Out Homies!